Photos from a video presentation of Samsung’s smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, have leaked online ahead of the device’s upcoming debut at the IFA conference in Berlin, showing a chunky, dark-colored device with a 3-inch screen.
The photos and information about the watch were published by tech publication VentureBeat, which also described some of the features the device will offer, such as Bluetooth technology and WiFi capability. According to the report, the Gear boasts 10 hours of battery life, social media integration with Facebook and Twitter, a camera, and Samsung S Voice for voice commands.
The report also quotes an unnamed source that said Samsung has been working with a startup in Palo Alto, Calif., for several months to develop fitness apps for the watch. The Gear can already be used to track your heart rate, keep track of your meals and suggest recommended workout routines in order to stay in shape or get in shape.
Samsung confirmed March 19 that it had a watch in the works. “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, told Bloomberg during an interview in Seoul. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”
It’s rumored that Apple is also working on a watch. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported in February that Apple had partnered with Foxconn, the company that puts together its iPhones and iPads, to build an iOS-running watch with a 1.5-inch organic LED display that can communicate with the iPad, the iPhone and other devices. According to various reports, Apple had a team of at least 100 people working on the watch.
Samsung and Apple should have plenty of competition in the space, from both fellow smartphone makers (in 2010 Nokia filed a patent for a flexible device that can be bent into a shape like a wrist cuff, a soup can or an A-frame tent) and companies with competing devices to complement Samsung’s and others’ smartphones.
French company VEA Digital, for example, has paired with watch-focused design company Caiman Design to create the VEA Buddy, a Bluetooth watch with a 2-inch-wide color touch screen, 8GB of memory and 10 days of battery life (according to VEA). The VEA Buddy allows users to take calls, scroll through emails, receive Facebook and Twitter updates, receive SMS and MMS messages, see photos and control music.